The nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko [...] (Lowry et al.)

Vol. 548
In section 10. Planets and planetary systems

The nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: A new shape model and thermophysical analysis

by S. Lowry, S. R. Duddy, B. Rozitis, S. F. Green, A. Fitzsimmons, C. Snodgrass, H. H. Hsieh, and O. Hainaut, A&A 548, A12


Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is to be visited by the European Space Agency Rosetta mission from May 2014. In this work, Lowry et al. present new optical photometry of the comet's nucleus and combine it with other data in the literature. The ensemble optical data set is used to derive the synodic period, pole direction, and shape of the nucleus. The results from the optical data are input into a thermophysical model, and they are compared to the mid-IR photometry to estimate the thermal inertia, albedo, and surface roughness of the nucleus. The low thermal inertia is comparable to other comets and implies a surface regolith finer than lunar surface material.